Korean War Legacy Project

Jack Cooper


Jack Cooper was born in Pharaoh, Oklahoma, on May 14, 1932, and joined the National Guard at sixteen years old, serving in the Korean War a few years later. He recounts his 30-day journey to Hokkiado, Japan, where he received combat training for roughly 6 months prior to his arrival in Korea. Amid landmines and near the Main Line of Resistance (MLR), he recalls the setting as dangerous and details the living conditions as well as the duties of manning a howitzer weapon. He recounts the intensity of battle but states that it was an honor to serve. He  shares that the military was good to him upon his return, allowing him to collect some disability, attend university, and purchase his first house. He is proud of what Korea has become and is today and offers a final message to younger generations.

Video Clips

Journey to Korea

Jack Cooper details his journey to Korea. He describes his train ride down to New Orleans, boarding the US William Weigel, and sailing through the Panama Canal enroute to Asia. He shares that the trip took 30 days from the time he boarded the ship in New Orleans to the time he arrived in Hokkaido, Japan. He recalls roughly 6 months of combat training in Japan before being sent to Korea where he was first assigned to test weapons.

Tags: Yeongdeungpo,Basic training,Front lines,Weapons

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A Picture of the Chorwon Valley

Jack Cooper paints a grim picture of the Chorwon Valley as he shares his memories. He recalls the gloom of winter, the cold temperatures, and the landscape destruction as the vegetation was reduced to mere stumps. He recounts the setting as dangerous due to close proximity to the Main Line of Resistance (MLR) and the excessive amount of North Korean, Chinese, and American mines hidden about. He recalls most fighting taking place with the Chinese rather than the North Koreans and elaborates on his living conditions in a foxhole.

Tags: Incheon,Chinese,Cold winters,Front lines,Impressions of Korea,Living conditions,Weapons

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Duties and Thoughts on Battle

Jack Cooper details the duties of soldiers assigned to a howitzer weapon and shares that there never was really any downtime. He recalls men rotating on and off shifts and most of the action taking place in the afternoon and evening. He shares that the intensity of battle made one nervous at times but that one grew accustomed to the reality over time. He adds that one did what he had to do.

Tags: Chinese,Cold winters,Fear,Front lines,Weapons

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An Honor to Serve and Returning Home

Jack Cooper shares that he has no regrets from his time in the service. He emphasizes that the military was good to him as he drew some disability, bought his first house, and used the GI Bill to go to attend university. He states, frankly, that it was an honor to serve and recounts his return home in 1952.

Tags: Incheon,Communists,Impressions of Korea,Pride

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Pride and Korea Today

Jack Cooper shares that he is proud to say that Korea is what it is today thanks to the efforts of the American military and the partnership created in Korea between both entities to stop Communism. He states that the Korean people are very grateful as they often thank him for his service. He also comments on Korea's economic status, the legacy of the Korean War, and offers a message to younger generations.

Tags: Civilians,Impressions of Korea,Message to Students,Modern Korea,Pride

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Video Transcript

[Beginning of recorded material]

J: My name is Jack Cooper.

I: And where were you born, when you born?
J: Okay.  Uh, I was born in Pharaoh, Oklahoma.  P H A R O A H


J: P H A R O A H, Oklahoma.

I: Um hm.

J: It’s a small town.

I: Um hm

J: in, uh, May, uh, 9th [INAUDIBLE] May the 14th, 1932.

I: That’s when you were born.

J: Yeah.


I: Um.  

J: My aunt, who is a registered nurse, was the midwife.

I: Huh.

J: We lived in an oil camp, Phillips Oil camp out in the country.

I: Yeah.  And what school did you go?

J: I went to, uh, grade school at Spring Hill Grade School

I: Then my dad transferred to Wewoka, Oklahoma.  I went to high school there.  Then after I came back from Korea, I went to Oklahoma


A & M which is now Oklahoma State.

I: Um.
J: I graduated in 1957

I: 19957?

J: Yes.

I: Graduate from

J: Oklahoma A & M.

I: Um.

J: It become Oklahoma State the very next semester.  So, uh, then, uh,

I: What did you study there?

J: Uh, my degree is in General Business

I: What?

J: General Business.

I: General Business.

J: General Business.

I: Uh huh.

J: with a minor in marketing

I: Yeah.


and a minor in History.

I: Uh huh.  What high school did you graduate ?

J: Wewoka High School, W E W O K A.

I: Um hm.  When did you graduate high school?
J: 1950.  

I: 1950.  So it was about the time that the Korean War broke out.

J: Yes.  I was in the Oklahoma National Guard, the 45th Division

I: Uh huh

J: We, we 


more or less fibbed about our age, and I think I joined when I was 16.  A lot of us did.  

I: Uh.

J: Then, back then when the activated the 45th after World War II, as a National Guard Division.  Each town usually had one or two units.  It so happens Wewoka had a medical company and Artillery Battery, uh, 105 Howitzer Firing Battery.  So it just


so happens I was in the Artillery Battery.  I had many high school friends in the battery.  And we also had great friends in the medical company.  So it was, when we went down to Camp Polk, you know, to train, [STAMMERS] In fact, over in Japan and Korea, you know, I saw, you know, old buddies quite often over there.

I: Oh, really?’

J: Yeah.  Pretty unique.

I: Um.

J: to a

I: Uh, when you graduate, did you have any knowledge


about Korea?

J: Yes.  We, uh,  of course the Korean War had started, you know, in June.  And, uh, and, of course, I got to be graduated from high school in June.  But the division had already been alerted that we were going to mobilize September the first.  They said get everything in order.  Of course, as a high school kid, we didn’t have much to get in order.  But, uh, but, uh, they, the whole state mobilized, the whole division.  So, uh, uh, 


right after September the first with all of their motor crew people, all the media of course, went on convoy down to, uh, Camp Polk, Louisiana, to leave Louisiana.  Then the balance of us, uh, we got on troop trains, and there 

I: Hold on.   Before you go into the details, did you, were you drafted or

J: No, National Guard.  I joined the National Guard.

I: And mobilized.

J: Yeah.  They, yeah, They ac, mobilized September the first.


I: Right.

J: 1950.

I: Um hm.

J: They mobilized the 45th Division in Oklahoma, the 40th Division in California and a few other regiments, Arkansas and other places.

I: What did people talk about Korea when the Korean War broke out?
J: We didn’t know anything about Korea, you know, from a small high school.  In fact, I didn’t have any idea where Korea was.

I: Um hm.

J: So, uh, we, uh, 


we were called to go and, of course, we just went.  That’s what it was and, uh, we were young.  We were excited, you know and, uh,  ready to be leaving home to be honest and, uh

I: Why is that?

J: Well, you know, a small town, you know, a country boy, you know.  You don’t travel very much.  So, uh, so, uh, yeah.  We were just, you know, excited to go on active duty, you know, see the world I guess.

I: In, in the context of war.

J: Well, we didn’t know what war was, you know, really.  


You know, then they didn’t, they didn’t have television back in that part of the country.

I: Right.

J: And you, I, I didn’t read the newspaper and, uh,

I: You didn’t have tv

J: But  not, not, it wasn’t in everybody’s home then.  They had some small black and white sets.

I: Really?

J: Yeah.  

I: In 19, oh yeah, 1950’s yes, 

J: Yeah.

I: Yes, yes.  Okay.

J: But I don’t think I’d ever even seen anything about Korea.  Well, we didn’t watch tv.


We couldn’t afford one really.

I: Hm.

J: So, uh, 

I: So what did, what did you say to yourself that I’m going to a country that I’ve never heard about before, and I might be killed.

J: You know, it was, uh, exciting to be honest, you know.  You don’t worry about  death when you’re 18, you know.  You’re almost invincible, uh.  So many of the guys that was in our outfit, we played ball together, football, basketball,


and so forth.  And, uh, you know, we, we just didn’t really give it much thought, you know, to getting killed or wounded.

I: Did you know anything about Communism?

J: No.  

I: Nothing?

J: Well, you know again, in a small town and, you know, World War II I was just a small kid.  And, uh, course you know, then about China, you know, Communist China and, uh, so, uh, you know, 


I had no idea really, uh., what we were fighting for to be honest.  It was, uh, it was just a [INAUDIBLE] factor and, uh, we went, and a lot of us came back, you know.  So

I: So what happened to, you went down to where, uh, ?

J: We, uh, the division trained in Camp Polk, Louisiana.

I: Yes.

J: We went into what they call Old North Camp Polk.  It had been deactivated


from World War II.

I: Um hm.

J: So we went in, and we opened it up

I: Um hm.
J: They fired up the furnaces to set  on the freight  trains taking off, uh.  There was, there was many snakes in that part of Louisiana.

I: Um hm.

J: So when we started cutting the grass, I didn’t cut it, of course.  But there was snakes all around really, Copperhead snakes.  Then when we were on maneuvers, the big thing we had to worry about at night in those pup tents was snakes crawling into your tent to get warm.


So you, you pretty well learned how to get upright quick and get out of there.  

I: Were you not afraid of snakes?

J: Yeah, that, you know, not just scared to death but, you know.  Course raised in Oklahoma, you know, we were around snakes all the time, too.  It was a

I: So, uh, and then what happened?  When did you leave for Korea, from where?

J: We, uh, the whole division assembled


in, uh, I think it was March the first of 1950, ’51.

I: Um hm.

J: And they had trains.  They took us down to New Holland which wasn’t that far, maybe 100 and some odd miles.  Then we got out, off the train and we stood there for it seemed like two or three hours.  There was two troop ships there.  I was on one they called the U.S. William Weegle.

I: Um hm.

J: And, uh, finally we started loading on the ships and, uh, 


that took quite a while.  Then, uh

I: From New Orleans?

J: Yeah.

I: Yeah.

J: We, we left  through New Or, left at New Orleans, two troop ships, went to the Panama Canal

I: Ah.

J: went up to San Francisco to resupply.  Then we took out across the Pacific.  And we went into, uh, we was on that ship 30 days, a lot of fun, sick and all that.

I: Thirty days?

J: Thirty days from the time we got on the ship in New Orleans


to the time we got off in Hokkaido, Japan.  That’s a long time, isn’t it?

I: Yeah.

J: Crowded, crowded.  A lot of times, the decks were off limits because of bad weather and, uh, we, uh.  Well anyway, we got to be headed, uh, Hokkaido, I believe it was, uh, April the first

I: Um.

J: Then we trained there until, uh, Sep, uh, October, uh, November, 


then [INAUDIBLE] party for our Battery,  We had six men go, I think each outfit sent men over ahead to Korea.

I: So you had more than six months training in Hokkaido?

J: Uh, about six months, yeah, yeah.

I: What, what kind of training?
J: It was combat.  We was in the field all the time, you know, under

I: So you were in the 1st Infantry Division?

J: No, the 45th Division.

I: Fort y

J: Forty-fifth, 45th Division.

I: Uh huh.


J: And our division, we relieved the 1st Cav Division in Korea.

I: Um hm.

J: When we went in, it was my job, and I flew into Kimpo, uh, had, had a, uh, plan load and then, uh

I: When did you leave for Korea from Japan, Hokkaido?
J: Uh, it was about the middle of Oct, middle of November.

I: Uh huh.

J: Seemed like it was about the 20th if I can remember right.
I: Uh huh.


J: But anyway, I flew in the advanced party and, uh, then we, we landed at Kam, Kimpo Airport

I: Um hm.

J: and we spent the night there.  But I think it’s, uh, Uijeongbu or Yongdong Po

I: Um hm.

J: Then we got on, we got on 2 ½ ton trucks the next morning, open top, heading up North towards, you know, the, uh, the, uh, front lines.  Then, uh, we, they dropped us off at the, the, the 


Battery of the 1st Cav Division that we were gonna replace.  So it was my job to check out the 6105 Howitzers to see if we would accept them.

I: Um hm.

J: So I would fire them into a mountain, uh.  I’d check them, I checked the lands and grooves inside the barrel

I: Um

J: and just to make sure because we didn’t want any defective Howitzers right off the bat.

I: Um

J: So, uh, Then two weeks late r, the Division came over on ships.

I: Um hm.  You remember the name of, uh, area that you were


J: Well, it was in, uh, the [Chowan ]Valley.

I: [Chowan] Valley.

J: Yeah.  We were probably, when we got there, maybe, seemed like about 20  or 30 miles North of the 38th I believe.

I: Um hm.

J: Then we started, but  when they started the Peace Treaties, they moved us back, you know, and then

I: What was the situation there, in Chowan


Valley when you went out there?

J: Well, you know, that was, you know, it had been fought over several times already time we got there, see.  And, uh, yeah.  That’s where the 1st Cav was and, uh, it was, it was, uh, ugly.  It was wintertime.  It was miserably cold.

I: Uh hm.

J: Uh, all the vegetation was, trees were, you know, they were just stumps I guess.  And the country was just full of mines.  It was dangerous.

I: Um.

J: Our mines


the North Korean mines and the Chinese mines.

I: So what, who were the main enemy, North Koreans or the Chinese?

J: When I got  there, the North Koreans had pretty well been whipped down.

I: Uh huh.

J: You know, they got whipped down after Inchon, you know, because they were caught and, uh,

I: Um hm.

J: So after we fought the  Chinese, 

I: Um hm.  So there must have been a lot of dangerous moment for you.

J: Yeah, yeah.  There was, uh, course we were


always about a mile behind the front line, what they call the MLR, main line of Resistance.

I: M

J: Uh, but they would

I: M

J: Huh?

I: M R L?

J: Uh, uh, M L R, main line of resistance.

I: Okay.

J: And that was the 38th Parallel.

I: Um hm.  

J: But, uh, you know, the Chinese would lob mortars at us pretty regularly.

I: Um hm.

J: So we, uh, you know, we’d hit the  foxhole pretty regular, so.

I: Um hm.  Did you dig the  foxhole by yourself?


J: Yeah, we’d dig our foxholes, yeah, yeah.

I: Um hm.  How, how big is it?

J: Well, it’s, uh, it’s, it’s a two-man foxhole, probably 5’ deep or 6 and, uh, we’d try to put little  logs around the side if we could, you know, keep it up.  Then, uh, it was always full of water, ice,  you know.  So when you got in there, you expected to get

I: Wet?

J: ice went up to, at least above your boots really.  And, uh, so we would,


we would be in that maybe five minutes, maybe, just hear how many, you know, mortar rounds came in on us.  So, uh, 

I: Must be so damn cold for your feet.

J: Oh yeah.  I’ve got, I’ve got cold weather and frost, uh, bite on my feet now, see.  So, uh,.  But how we got ours, it was a, it seemed like that the, t he Chinese was making a push in our sector. And they’d put a ROC division,


uh, uh, uh our, our regiment went back for R & R

I: Um hm.

J: Then the ROC Division, the ROC Regiment replaced them.  Then I guess the Chinese knew about it before anybody else.  So they started, tried to come across.  So we fired that Howitzer for two days about as fast as we could fire them really.  And, uh, course it was, uh, had to be, you know, 10 above, maybe 0 and, uh, you know, we was out there


for days on that ice, and snow was the next thing, a lot of us knew our feet was numb.  And then, uh, so quite a few of us got cold weather, you know, from our knees down and frostbite.  I had it on my hands, too.  So

I: Where did you sleep, and did you sleep in the foxhole?

J: No, no.  You mean during that two days?

I: Yeah.  Or throughout the whole [INAUDIBLE]

J: Well, what, what we

I: I mean, when you were in the foxhole.

J: Okay.  Uh, normally we would dig a, what you call a hoojie

I: Um hm.


close to the guns, to [INAUDIBLE] the gun side.
I: Yeah.

J: You know, the gun pit [INAUDIBLE] up there.

I: Yeah.

J: And then it would be about , uh, about three or four of us on the ground, and we had steps down there that our guys was pretty, uh, creative.  They would take ammunition boxes, uh, wooden ammunition boxes that the ammunition came in

I: Yeah.

J: and they would actually board it up in there so it was, and it had benches, you know, and, uh, 


that, let’s see what else.  And then, uh, they, they took machine, uh, a 50 caliber machine gun boxes were metal, they would cut a hole in it.  Then they’d take some of the 105 tubes to make a smoke stack.  So we would, uh, we would bust up the, uh, ammunition crate to use for  a fire so, uh,

I: Your hotel there.

J: Yeah.  And, uh, of course I was over at the, uh, gun section and, uh, the number 4 gun section.


I had nine men  most of the time, not all the time.  But  we had, we had to, uh, man that Howitzer around the clock, you know.  It, there wasn’t any down time.  So I had to decide who’d work days and who’d work nights.  And most of the activity was really in the afternoons or evenings seemed like.  So, uh, I tried to have maybe four or five men around the  Howitzer during the day, then maybe three or four at night, see, and, uh.


And we would be down in that little hoojie, pretty warm down there, cozy, smoking cigarettes, drinking coffee.  Then that phone would ring and it would say if, if, the fire mission.  Well, you had to jump up, you know, put your parka on, your, your wool cap and put your [INAUDIBLE] and run up to the gun pit, you known.  But it was right there.  Then, uh, they’d give us our, uh, you know, deflection, elevation, 


how many rounds and so forth.  So, uh, it might, we might  fire, um, might be 10 rounds.  It could be maybe, uh, you know, 50 rounds.  Then they’d say cease fire.  Then we’d clean up a little bit and go back down in the hoojie and then maybe in an hour that phone would ring again.  So here we would go again.  So it was, uh, it was miserable.

I: Um.

J: Uh, it was probably,


it was probably as cold as the Battle of the Bulge in World War II really.

I: What were you thinking when you were engaged in such intensive battle situation?

J: Well you’re, you’re, you were nervous, you know, you know.  But, you know, you get a little bit used to some of the mortars coming in pretty close to you.  But, uh, what I had, you know, you can see by the, this deal here that I had, you know, one man killed in my gun section and one man had his arm blew off.  And, uh, 


they stepped on a mine what is was.  So, uh, you know, it was, you know, it was on your mind.  But it, you, you just didn’t, you know, take over.  You, uh, you just kind of did what you had to do and, uh, stay undercover as much as you could I guess,  I certainly wasn’t a hero.  And I’d often thought, uh, you know, what would I do if, uh, you know, the Chinese was coming at us, you know, would I, you know, would I stand up and fight


or would I faint or whatever.  You, you don’t know see.  And, uh, we had, uh, down maybe 300’ in front, front of us, we always had a half track with quad 50, quad 50 caliber machine guns on it.  They were out  there by themselves, three man crew, and you know that they were certainly, you know, excited and, and nervous and scared out there.  They were, you know, way out in front of us.  And they would fire at anything.  Any noise,


they’d cut loose.  But there was five, four, uh, machine guns.  And, uh, so they pretty well, you know, we felt pretty well protected with that.  So, uh, 

I: Did you blame country government to bring, drag you down there?
J: Did I blame anybody?  I don’t think so really, you know.  You, uh, you know 


[after you get the], one guy, uh, was in  my class in high school, in National Guard

I: Oh.

J: he was, we went around together [INAUDIBLE] But you feel, you know, you feel mean or mad about  it, you know.   But, uh, you know, not hatred, you know.  I didn’t hate the Chinese, you know, uh, you know.  This, you know, they, they, they lost a lot  more people than we did I can promise you that.  And, uh, 

I: How close were you between you and, and, and Chinese soldiers?
J: Uh, well,


 that MLR, it might be 100 yards. It might  be a quarter of a mile, about 150 miles, are you Korean?

I: Yes.

J: You know, it’s about 150 miles

I: Yeah, yeah, I know.

J: Yeah, and, of course, that whole, that was the 38th Parallel

I: Yeah.

J: And it depends on the  mountains, you know, that it, they’d be [gone] but they could see each other, then they maybe the mountains you couldn’t see each other.  But, uh, but we, what we would do at least twice a week


we would take three pieces, three Howitzers, [STAMMERS] right behind the front lines.  We’d take a, uh, we’d take a, a load of ammunition, and we’d fire it.  Then we’d get out of there.  One time when we were coming back over the hill, the Chinese finally wised up, and they blew that valley all to, uh, hell and, uh, so we just got out of there by the skin of our teeth I guess.

I: How was the logistics,


 like, uh, food?

J: Well, you know,

I: and clothes, ammunition, everything?

J: Well, we, you know, we had, you know, ample ammunition, you know they, and, uh, so then, of course, we had, you had warm clothing.  Where, where we, where  I got my, uh,  my feet messed up, we had what they called snow packs, great shoes for cold weather.
I: Mickey Mouse?

J: They called it snow packs.

I: Snow packs.

J: And you had, but you had felt arch supports in it.


And if you had an extra pair that if your feet sweat you had to changed those, uh, arch supports out .

I: Yeah.

J: But during that two days, we didn’t even think about  it.  So we were out there and, you know, in the  ice and snow and what have you and, uh, so after it was over with, we were all pretty well, you know, screwed up with our feet.  So, uh, 

I: What did you eat?

J: Well, we had, we had hot meals quite a bit, you know.   We had,


 it, it’d be, uh, dehydrated food.  And we had the C rations and so forth and, uh, frankly I’ll tell you what I did most of the time, course I  knew the Mess Sargent quite well, and he’d give me those large cans of peanut butter and, uh, you know, I’d keep it down in the hoojie and, of course, uh, I’d let my guys eat what they wanted to out of it.  But, uh, that’s, you know, I had maybe three or four gallons of peanut butter


I think over there.  Seems like it.

I: Too much.  

J: Yeah, and

I: You still like it?

J: Oh, I love it, yeah.  Love it.  

I: What was your rank?

J: I was a Sargent First Class.

I: Sargent  First Class.

J: Yeah.

I: Um.  

J: That was what they called the Section Chief.

I: And how much were you paid?

J: It seems like in Korea, cause it was tax free, $140 I believe, something like that.


Course, we sent it all home, you know.  So, uh,

I: There were nothing for you to spend, right?

J: Uh uh.  I did go to Tokyo one time on R & R five days.  So, uh,

I: Did you have a camera?

J: No, uh uh.

I: Nobody has camera at the time?

J: Uh, they may have, some of them.  Yeah, there was people shooting, you know, taking pictures and all that things.  You know, you didn’t pay attention to them.  Now this picture here,


that being the first round fired for the Division.  They had quite a few, uh, military, uh,

I: Hold, hold it up to chin so that I can take a picture and this camera can see it.

J: Okay.  

I: And tell me about that picture.

J: Okay. This was on December the 6th of 1951

I: Yeah

J: It so happens that, that my Howitzer


was selected to fire the first round at the Chinese from our Division which would be quite an honor.  But there were several big wigs already, you know.  There was two or three generals and what have you.  Then, uh, quite a few photographers and a big event.  I’m the one holding the shell.  I was  19 years old.  Pretty handsome dude, wasn’t I/

I: Yeah.  


I: Any regret?
J: Not at all.  No.  No. The military was good to me.  When I got  out, you know, I’d draw some disability, you know.  I, I went to college on the GI bill.

I: Oh.  

J: I, uh, I bought my first house to the, to the, to, to the military, uh.  No.  I, you know, I have no regrets.  Fact, it was an honor to serve frankly and, uh, it’s


somewhat maturing I might  say, you know, for an 18 year-old country boy to get over  t here.  We, we had a good time in Japan, you know.  We’d train from Monday through Thursday in the field.

I: In Hokkaido you’re talking about, right?

J: Yeah.  We were, we were in a little town of [JITOSI] very small Japanese village and, uh, you know, there was, there was two or three, you know, taverns you, you’d call it [INAUDIBLE] really.  So, uh, we would come in Thursday evening.


We would clean the equipment on Friday.  Then we’d have inspections on Saturday morning.  Then we would go to the NCO club that afternoon

I: Ah.

J: then go downtown and what have you.  And so we had some good times, uh.  It was still martial law.  So, you know, the Japanese police couldn’t touch us, and the MP’s knew we were going to Korea so, you know, that, they weren’t that strict on us so uh,

I: Um hm.  When did you leave Korea?


J: Well, it seems like, you know, it’s been so long ago.   Let’s see, uh, it was in June, I’d say about the first week in June.  

I: Of 1952, right?

J: Yeah.

I: Yeah.

J: We, uh, went to, went to, uh, Pusan, I mean, uh, Inchon

I: Um hm.

J: got on ships, went to Sasebo, Japan


I: Um

J: We were there about a week and, uh, then we got on a troop ship heading to Seattle, Washington, and that was about a 15, 15-day, uh, voyage over there.  Then just so happens they went down the alphabet so far, and we got to fly from, uh, from Fort Lawton, Washington to, uh, Fort Sill, Oklahoma which is in the Town of Lawton. The rest of them had to catch, you know, the troop ship across.  So, uh,


I: What did people say to you when you came back to Oklahoma?
J: They, uh, we weren’t treated like the Viet Nam veterans by any means.  But, you know, it was, you know, they were tired of war from World War II, and they pretty well just kind of, I don’t think they even asked me a thing about  the War really, you know.  It was just, uh, 

I: Were they aware of you that, of you were in Korea?
J: Oh yeah, you know, yeah.

I: Um.

J: But, you know, they, you know, we weren’t treated 


like World War II veterans, you know, that

I: Why is that?

J: Well, cause, you know, uh, you know, World War II, I, I have no idea except, you know, the whole world was really involved in it and, uh, I guess patriotism.  Like Korea, you know, it wasn’t as necessary as World War II, you know that.  And, uh, so we were just, went over to save a country is what it was.  But really, we were trying to stop Communism.  See, If, if the, uh, 


Chinese had, had run over, taken over, uh, South Korea, they were after Japan, you know.  And no matter what, they were gonna get after that, see.  They were gonna make their own large empire I guess.  And course they had Russia’s backing, you know that.  So, uh, 

I: Um, so you said that you had a GI bill.

J: Yeah.

I: What college did you go?

J: Oklahoma A & M.

I: A & M?

J: Yeah.


We got $110 a month that had to cover everything.

I: Um hm.

J: We lived pretty close to the vest, a lot of canned Beanies Weenies, tractors and what have you.  

I: And you majored General Business.

J: Yeah, General Business and

I: Were you, you were single at the time, right?
J: Yeah, yeah.

I: So $110 were good enough.

J: No.  Not by any means, you know.  We, uh, you know, that covered two, that covered tuition, books,


room and board, whatever.  That’s all we got was that $110.00.  So, uh, no, no.  We were, we were, you know, pretty, pretty strapped for money.  In fact, I was going up in the oil field doing work during the summer.

I: But  you, the tuition wasn’t that expensive.

J: Huh

I: Tuition.

J: No.  But you figure $110, you know, that’s, you know, that, you gotta divide it.  I’d say it seemed like, no, you’re right.  The  tuition wasn’t very expensive.  You could probably get, you could get 15 hours


maybe, maybe for $75.  

I: Yeah.

J: Then books, we bought used books, you know.  And, uh, but we made it, you know.  We watched what we ate.  Like I said, we lived in pretty small places, you know, that you, whether you think about living now.  But, you know,

I: How long did you get the GI bill?  Four years?

J: Four years, yeah, yeah, yeah.

I: Okay.  What did you do after the graduation?

J: I, uh, went to Florida and went to work for International Harvester.


That’s a truck manufacturer, you know, uh, farm equipment, trucks.  Then, uh, my wife, we didn’t like Florida, so we put in a transfer, and we, that’s how we got to Dallas

I: Um hm.

J: Then, uh, there was a company looking for a salesman and, uh, they were in the fire equipment

I: Um.

J: So I interviewed, and they hired me.  So I left International Harvester and went into the fire equipment business.  

I: Good.  


Have you been back to Korea?

J: No.  You know, we think about it.  But my wife is, uh, she’s, she’s almost an invalid.  So to be gone, you know, eight  or nine days, I just couldn’t.  I’d have to find somebody to stay with her really.  So, um, I’m a caregiver.  So, uh, 

I: Um, you know what’s Korea now is in terms of economies and powers.

J: We’re proud to say it because of us 


that Korea is what it is today.  And you people are very, very, very grateful, you know.  When they see me, you know, with the uniform, you know, they, uh, you know, they thank you, and it’s, it’s well, you know, it was kind of a partnership you might say.  It was basically the United States in Korea, you know that, probably 90% and, uh, of equipment and\

I: Um.

J: No.  We, uh, we, I, I’m proud to say that we


took a country that was on the verge of becoming, you know, a Communist, Communism, and we helped them out of it.  So.  And of course, they lost millions of people during that War.  You know, uh, civilians, what have you.  So, uh, but I, I’m forget, I forgot what, what is their rank in the, in the world economy now, 4th or 5th, isn’t it, something like that?

I: No, it’s 11th largest economy in the world.

J: It is, okay, yeah.


I: Eleventh, twelfth.

J: Yeah.

I: It’s, uh, 7th largest trading partner to the United States.
J: Yeah, yeah.  Yeah.  When, uh, course I, I wasn’t in Viet Nam.  But they said we had Japanese, I mean Korean troops there, and they were right by us, you know, very viscous, ferocious fighters and what have you.  And, of course, during the, uh, you know, over in Iraq, we had, uh, Korean troops over there.  So, uh, it’s, it’s an, it’s an ally that 


we’ll always have.  You can pretty well name them, you know.  Course England, you know, Australia, Canada and Korea and, uh, 

I: What is the legacy of Korean War veterans?
J: Uh, what?
I: Legacy.

J: Uh.

I: The impact of the Korean War veterans.

J: Well, number one we stopped Communism, you know.  Then after that, the, uh, Berlin Wall began to crumble.  The USSR, you know,


pretty well fell apart and, uh, they, they began, uh, I think we just helped, you know, keep a free world really and, uh, 

I: Any message to our young generations?
J: Well, you know, it’s, uh, if you can, serve your country.  I really think that all young men  and women ought to server a  certain amount of time in the military,


a year maybe.

I: You support for draft.

J: Yes, yes I would, yeah, yeah.  It should be mandatory to have some, you know, some bit of military experience.  And, uh, be away from home, you know, whatever and, uh, you know, kind of like Israel how they do say it’s mandatory over there.  So, uh.  What, what, does Korea have anything like that, do they?

I: Yeah.  Every man should serve in the Army.

J: You can see, you can see how strong they are and what have you.  


And, uh, it, it pays off and, of course, North Korea will never take over South Korea.  You know that.  It’s, uh, 

I: You, you sure?

J: I’m sure, uh huh.   I, I’d bet my life that North Korea will never take over South Korea.  No.  I think that they, I think they still remember the lesson they were taught in the Korean War and, uh, 

I: Are you willing to meet with North Korean and Chinese soldier that actually fought against you in 1950 and shake hands?


J: Yeah, yeah, I would, yeah, you know.  The, they’d be my age.  I’m 82, you know.  Yeah.  I would, you know.  You know war is just, you know, it’s, it’s, it’s almost impersonal really.  It’s uh, you know, they, so many of them didn’t want to be there, you know, I’m sure, you know.  It was a sad situation.  So many of the young Chinese troops were [INAUDIBLE] and uh, probably farmers, you know, people like that.


And, uh, the Chinese would send those guys ahead of them, you know, because they’re regular Army.  And, uh, they were the ones that got mutilated really.  And, and, uh, so.  I know it, though, being over there was, you know, millions of artillery rounds fired in Korea and, uh, you know, of course we, we’d call up, we used what they called a proximity fuse which was, you know, you spray, uh, you know, shrapnel in a pretty good circle.


And, uh, it’s, it would be, uh, just a  massacre to some of those young Chinese really.  And, and toward the end of the War, uh, they were willing to surrender.  They wanted out of it, you know.  They were cold.  They were frozen to death, their feet and, uh, course the reason why the War was, uh, extended like it was because the, the, uh, Chinese prisoners didn’t want to go back to China, you know, because they knew how they’d be treated, you know, 


as, as, it’s that people that surrendered, they’d probably be either killed or, you know, brutally abused.  So that War would have been over probably a year before that.  So

I: Any other message that you want to leave?

J: No, no.  It’s just, uh, you know, like I said.  I was proud to serve, you know.  And, uh, you know, some memories bitter and good ones, you know. lot of good friends, what have you.  The, the 45th Division, uh, they’re 


back to the National Guard status.  But they sent troops all over the world, you know, all, all the combat zones, Iraq, Afghanistan.  I think most, uh, National Guard units do.  But we meet once a year in Oklahoma City.  That’s always in the, the latter part of September.  And as far as the Korean veterans, uh, World War II veterans are pretty well gone.  And there’s not many Korean War veterans show up any more because, you know, they just can’t make it.  So


I: That’s why my Foundation, um, launched KWVYC Youth Corp.  It’s a grandchildren or great grandchildren

J: Yeah.

I: of Korean War veterans.

J: Yeah.

I: and they gather at Washington, DC

J: Yeah.

I: last year.  

J: We, uh, we have a couple, we got a young gal in our chapter, and her grand, her, her grandad was a POW.

I: Uh.

J: And she, I think she’s high school.  But she’s active in that.  So, uh

I: Um, do you have grandchildren?


J: Yeah.

I: In age of high school or college?

J: Yeah.  I’ve got a granddaughter that’s gonna graduate from May in Texas Tech.  That’s out of Lubbock, Texas.

I: Ah.

J: We got one that graduated from Baylor last year.
I: Wow.  

J: I’ve got one at SMU now and, uh, yeah.  We’ve, you know, we’ve got grandchildren, too.

I: You know, uh, this July from 26th to 28th, the descendants of the Korean War veterans in 


their college or high school, they going to gather in Washington, DC

J: Yeah.

I: And my Foundation n

J: Yeah.

I: will support everything.

J: Uh, are you involved in that?

I: Yeah. I am the one.

J: You’re the one.

I: Yeah.

J: the, the grandchildren.

I: Yeah. 
J: That’s wonderful, you know that.  Yeah.  You know about that.

I: Did you read the [GRAVE YEAR]?

J: Yeah, yeah, I read it.

I: I, I l wrote it.

J: You’re, you’re the gentleman, are you?
I: Yeah.  

J: Okay.  Yeah.

I: Could you ask your grandchildren to join that meeting in Washington, D.C.?

J: Well, course they’re,


they just come out of college.

I: Yeah.

J: And they’re in their, uh, you know, they’re in their 20’s.

I: Yeah.

J: I’m not for sure really, uh, you know.  

I: Yeah.

J: So, uh, you know I could, I’d be glad to ask them, you know.

I: Oh yeah.  Ask them.

J: Our little girl, I asked her if she was gonna bring some more information the next meeting I think and

I: Yeah.  So, um, what chapter are you in?

J: It’s 215.

I: 215.

J: It’s called the [INAUDIBLE]

I: I know, I know.

J: Um.


I: [Gene Wentmore]

J: Very well.

I: Yeah.

J: He’s, he’s our President.

I: Yeah.  Please talk to your grandchildren, those who already graduate, doesn’t matter

J: Yeah.

I: in their 20’s and with that high level, high learning educational experience

J: Yeah.

I: we want to have them, and they will have a free Washington hotel, meal, everything, and the transportation only 50%.

J: Yeah.

I: they, you know.  So please talk to them and ask them to contact me


J: I need it.  Do you have a card?

I: Yeah, absolutely.  I will give you.

J: Uh, I’ve got one.  It’s my little granddaughter in Texas Tech.  Now she’s the one that might be interested.

I: Oh yeah.

J: Yeah.  

I: And she can meet many of other grandchildren of Korean War veterans

J: Yeah, yeah.

I: They can build a connection and, you know, that’s how I want them to continue on your legacy.

J: Yeah.  She’s pretty proud of her old grandad, you know.

I: Yeah.

J: Yeah.  It’s, uh, course I


helped her financially, my wife and I.  We give her quite a bit of money to go to school and all and, uh,

I: Good.  So you can give her 50% cover all the transportation

J: Yeah, without a doubt, yeah.

I: you know.  And everything else will be covered my Foundation.

J: It’s the same deal about going to Korea.  I think the Korean veterans, you know.  They pick up half the tab.

I: Exactly.

J: Yeah.  [Good enough]  So one of these days, I’m gonna make that trip back over there.

I: Yeah.

J: They say it is one heck of a trip.  They say that the Korean military put on 


a show for you that’s unreal and that.  So

I: Thank you again, Jack, for your interview.  Thank you.

 [End of Recorded Material]